2,102 Appeals Filed with the OOR in 2016

The number of appeals filed in 2016 declined from 2015’s record-setting pace, but the complexity of issues presented in the cases continued to grow.

Over the past five years, the average number of cases heard by the OOR is 2,342.

Predictions are dangerous, especially when they’re printed in an annual report (and on this blog) where anyone can refer back to them very easily, but… I predict the number of cases over the next several years will remain between 2,000 and 2,500 per year.

Appeals by Year - 2016 Annual Report

Highlights from the OOR’s 2016 Annual Report

The Office of Open Records’ Annual Report for 2016 is now available. I enjoy putting together these reports and think they provide good insight into how the Right-to-Know Law is working across Pennsylvania.

Highlights from this year’s report include:

  • 2,102 appeals were filed with the Office of Open Records in 2016. Of those, more than half (1,077) were filed by everyday citizens.
  • 1,424 appeals involved local agencies; 573 involved state agencies. (The remainder involved agencies over which the OOR does not have jurisdiction.)
  • 70 training sessions were conducted across the state and attended by about 3,000 people, including public officials, agency employees, and requesters.
  • 49 successful mediations were achieved, which help both agencies and requesters by ensuring that the appeals do not move to court.

I’ll be highlighting more of this year’s Annual Report in subsequent posts to this blog.

Past Annual Reports are available here.

Presentation at Sunshine Week CLE

Open records_logo stackedEarlier today, I was part of a panel discussion at a CLE hosted by the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association at Widener Law Commonwealth in Harrisburg.

It was an excellent event (even if last week’s snow did push it into the week after Sunshine Week!), and I appreciate the invitation to participate.

Here’s the presentation I used:

PNA Sunshine Week CLE at Widener – March 21, 2017 – PDF
PNA Sunshine Week CLE at Widener – March 21, 2017 – PPTX

Presentation at Body-Worn Cameras CLE

Open records_logo stackedOn Friday, I took part in Forensic Friday, a regular program organized by Duquesne University’s Cyril H. Wecht Institute of Forensic Science and Law.

The topic was Balancing Safety, Justice and Privacy: Body-Worn Cameras, Forensic Evidence & the Right to Know.

Also taking part in the program were State Senator Randy Vulakovich; State Representative Dom Costa; former State Representative David Mayernik; Commander Clarence Trapp, head of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police’s Special Deployment Division; and Duquesne University School of Law Professor John Rago.

It was a great event and a great discussion, and I very much appreciate the invitation to participate.

Here’s the presentation I used:

Body-Worn Cameras CLE – Jan. 27, 2017 – PDF
Body-Worn Cameras CLE – Jan. 27, 2017 – PPTX

Body-Worn Cameras, Forensic Evidence & the Right to Know

Forensic Fridays LogoOn Friday, January 27, I’ll be taking part in Forensic Friday, a regular program organized by Duquesne University’s Cyril H. Wecht Institute of Forensic Science and Law.

The topic is Balancing Safety, Justice and Privacy: Body-Worn Cameras, Forensic Evidence & the Right to Know.

Also part of the program are State Senator Randy Vulakovich; State Representative Dom Costa; former State Representative David Mayernik; Commander Clarence Trapp, head of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police’s Special Deployment Division; and Duquesne University School of Law Professor John Rago, who has been working closely with state legislators to develop legislation governing the use of body-worn cameras.

The program is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. and is approved by the Pennsylvania CLE Board for 3 hours of substantive CLE credit, by the University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work for 3 hours of Social Work credit, and by the Pennsylvania Coroners Education Board for 1 hour of Coroners Education credit.

Here’s a fuller description from the University:

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